#23 Special NCLB Innovation

Events & News

1.  The Ohio Middle School Association’s Annual Conference in Columbus, OH meets this week.  (Conference Program)
2.  Middle Level Essentials Conference, April 4-5, 2008 in Minneapolis
3.  The Michigan Association of Middle School Educators Conference in Saline, MI, March 13-14.

Advisory:  Origami
So caught between the Reading Committee’s demand for dropping everything and keeping Advisory moving and active?  What about taking the pages of an origami book, offering several selections based on level of difficulty, and allowing the students to pick a project to produce and then teach others in the advisory?  Scale it to teaching another advisory (preferably another grade level).

Place it in order:
Why do these numbers belong in this order?

Get kids to think in different ways. This comes from a 16 year old in New York. He rode the bus for 2 hours a day. He started a “logic class” in the back of the bus. In order to join the class, a student had to present a logic problem. This one comes from a 13 or 14 year old.

Special Ed must Give way to NCLB:

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, in Chicago, ruled unanimously on Feb. 11 that even if the NCLB law was at odds with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the special education law “must give way” because NCLB is the newer statute.
But the 7th Circuit panel quickly moved on to conclude that, on the merits, the Illinois suit “is too weak to justify continued litigation.”
“There are many school districts that are missing AYP only because of special-needs children, and only because they are being required by the regulators to measure [such students’] progress by standardized tests, in a manner that is inconsistent with their” individualized education programs, Mr. Izzo said.

Reading List:

Innovate Like Edison:  The Success System of America’s Greatest Inventor  Innovation Literacy

“We’ve got to get every member of the organization, from top to bottom, literate in innovation just like we make them literate in finance, or literate in marketing, or literate in an other management disciplines.  Innovation is not about ideas and creativity, it’s a whole discipline about how you turn an idea into reality.  Innovation literacy has to be across the board.  It’s got to be done.”

Edison’s Five Competencies of Innovation:
1.  Solution-centered Mindset:  Setting the goal and defining success at the outset.
2.  Kaleidoscopic Thinking:  Making creative connections between ideas and concepts.
3.  Full-spectrum Engagement:  Balancing work and play, solitude and collaboration, concentration and relaxation.
4.  Mastermind Collaboration:  The “… coordination of knowledge and effort in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.”  -Napoleon Hill
5.  Super-value Creation
See a sample here:
“He formed multidisciplinary teams to develop his products.”  – Curtis R. Carlson

Commenters Criticize Spellings After Homecoming


Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, at right, is barnstorming states trying to improve NCLB’s image. The press coverage of her stops so far has been rather favorable, leaving out some of the voices of the law’s most strident critics. See, for example, this story in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

But when the secretary stopped in her hometown of Houston last week, commenters on this Houston Chronicle story weren’t buying her message. One pointed out the logical inconsistency of all students reaching grade level if that term is defined as the 50th percentile. Another calls her a name that my sons (ages 10 and 7) like to use on each other, and then adds that the secretary enrolled one of her daughters in a Catholic school. (That’s news to me. Send me an e-mail if you know this to be true). All in all, not a good hometown reception.

But I doubt Spellings will be deterred by these remarks. She’s been using pseudo-religious language about NCLB’s achievement goal, calling it “righteous” in interviews and public appearances. Maybe she’ll find comfort in Matthew 13:57.


NCLB for Lawyers & Advocates:
Questions for the Attorney and Advocate

  • Is the child proficient in reading?
  • Is the child proficient in auditory processing?
  • Does the child have phonemic awareness?
  • What is the child’s grade equivalent level when reading aloud as measured by the Gray Oral Reading Test?
  • What is the child’s grade equivalent level when reading silently as measured by the Woodcock Reading Mastery Tests Revised or the Gates MacGinitie Reading Test?
  • If the child is not proficient in reading, what steps has the school taken to bring the child to proficiency?
  • Has the school administered a screener? If so, what were the findings?
  • Has the school administered a diagnostic reading test? If so, what were the findings?
  • What reading program is the school using to teach the child to read?
  • Is this program a research-based reading program? Does this reading program include the “essential components” listed in 20 U. S. C. § 6368(3)?
  • What research supports the use of this program?
  • What assessments does the district use to identify children who may be at risk for reading failure or difficulty learning to read? Has the district used such an assessment with this child? What were the findings?
  • What “additional educational assistance” is the district providing to this student?
  • Is the child’s teacher qualified to teach reading?